A Girl on the Deck of a Ship

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Publish Date : 02/16/2016 10:19
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A Girl on the Deck of a Ship
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Zahra is a local Mazandarani girl born in 1986.
NameZahra Salarieh
Place of birthMazandaran Province
Date of birth1986
Marital statusSingle
OccupationShip captain
EducationTraining courses in ship engine mechanical engineering

But she lives in Bushehr. From the age of 13 Zahra worked in her spare time from school. At that age she was very skilled in sewing, and worked in a small sewing workshop. One day as she was looking at the personals pages of the newspaper she saw a vacancy for a simple job, but that same ad changed the path of her life. It was a life jacket sewing company’s ad. Going to this company and getting introduced to people who trained captains and sailors and in a way were connected to sailing and ships and boats, gradually drew her interest.
Zahra was hired by the company. A year passed and more than showing interest in sewing life jackets, she was more interested in attending seafaring training classes, nevertheless, they never signed up for any of these courses. Because it was the first time that a girl, and a very young one, who had requested to join the courses. Despite the disagreements because of the interest that she had found in this profession, she tried hard and by proposing the answer that no law had refused permission to allow women in these classes, she finally got her wishes and started attending these classes.
Due to the difficulties of the theoretic classes and the need to learn English, she was forced to work in the day and study at night, and at the same time also attend the practical courses. From practicing not to get seasick to repairing engines and also learning 70 different sailor’s knots on ropes twice as heavy as her, and finally at the end of the course where she had to do a written and practical exam on everything that she had learned.
On exam day they put her through the toughest exam so that maybe she would change her mind. They even only made her work with an engine, which was the toughest part of the exam. Doing and undoing of nuts and bolts that were perhaps her own weight, but despite it all she managed to pass her exam with good marks and she got her boat license. After that she took further courses related to her job, from repairing big seafaring ships engines to ship engineering, and she received various certificates.
Following doing training courses, it was clear that no one trusted a 15 year old girl, and no one would let her have their ship or boat. It was because of this that for weeks Zahra would go to the port from 5 in the morning till 9 at night and sit on the docks where the ships set sail from.
No one supported her in those days. And Zahra was a slight built girl, whose efforts in trying to convince people were futile. Until one day a middle aged man who had asked why is this girl at the port from morning till night every day? One of the captains said that they say she has a captain’s licence but she doesn’t look like she could do the job.
But this middle aged man trusted Zahra and after inspecting her captain’s license he said he would give her a job and you must show me that you know what you’re doing. It was then that for the first time she sailed a big passenger boat from Bandar Abbas heading towards Gheshm island. When she went to the captain’s bridge at first she was very nervous. The middle aged man was also present and kept on encouraging Zahra giving her encouraging words. And the self confidence that that man let her turn the boat on and sail away.
She never expected a good reception by the passengers, and could not believe it. They were so happy and excited that a girl, and at her age too, was the captain of their ship, and she was affected by their happy spirits, and she took the passengers safely to Gheshm.
After her first work experience, she has taken several many courses to further learn, and the shortest time she spent on water has been 2 months without returning to land and the longest for two years, meaning she was continuously on water and ona ship or boat, so that she could experiences all the conditions and incidents that can take place in a sea trip, and prepare herself.
In the two years that she was on water she gained many experiences. She passed various training courses such as swimming, scuba diving, repair and guiding a ship and boat on stormy waters and critical conditions. These experiences prepared her for her job more than before.
She sees her time spent on water as the best time of her life, and she has a lot of memories from being on deck. Zahra has endured many difficulties until she could get the profession and job that she liked very much and believes that women too can succeed in jobs that everyone believes only men can do, an be part of the best.


Sanaz Moazezi
BA in International Law

“ A Girl on the Deck of a Ship ”